George Trinidad and Tobago Guatemala
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Crew SC players successfully kick off FIFA World Cup qualifiers

This may be a bye week for Columbus, but several Crew SC players are on the pitch in different parts of the world representing their countries in 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying.

Two Black & Gold players kicked off their qualifiers with victories while another was upset by a tiny island nation.

Mabwati Celebrates Last-Minute Comeback

Cedrick Mabwati and the Democratic Republic of Congo kicked off their qualifying campaign in dramatic fashion. Trailing Burundi 2-1 with four minutes left on the clock, Ndombe Mubele scored a brace in less than two minutes to give DR Congo the away win. Mabwati played 70 minutes in the match at Stade Prince Louis Rwagasore in Bujumbura.

DR Congo will host Burundi for the return leg at Stade de Martyrs in Kinshasa at 9:30 a.m. ET on Sunday. There are 20 separate two-legged series as part of the African Second Round qualifying, with the 20 winners advancing to group play in the Third Round.

Afful, Black Stars Upset by Comoros

With a population smaller than that of Columbus, the tiny island nation of Comoros is not exactly a powerhouse in African soccer. Yet, it managed to come away with an impressive tie against Harrison Afful’s Ghana. The Black Stars were held to a scoreless draw at Stade Said Mohamed Cheikh in Mitsamiouli.

Afful played the full 90 minutes in the first match of the two-leg series. Ghana will host Comoros for the Second Leg at National Sports Council in Kumasi. Kickoff is at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

Soca Warriors Defeat Guatemala Ahead of Clash with U.S.

Kevan George’s Trinidad and Tobago opened CONCACAF Fourth Round qualifying with a 2-1 win in Guatemala. Khaleem Hyland and Kenwyne Jones scored for the Soca Warriors. Carlos Mejia’s last-minute goal for Guatemala was too little too late. All three goals came after George entered the match in the 62nd minute.

Trinidad and Tobago next hosts the United States at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port Of Spain at 6:36 p.m. ET on Tuesday. The U.S. won its first World Cup Qualifying match 6-1 against St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The winner of Tuesday’s match will take the lead in Group C. The top two teams following a double round-robin format will advance to the Fifth Round of CONCACAF qualifying, commonly known as the Hexagonal.

Meram, Iraq Take on Chinese Taipei

Crew SC midfielder Justin Meram and the Iraq National Team will visit Chinese Taipei in the Second Round of Asian Football Confederation qualifying. The Lions of Mesopotamia currently place second in Group F with five points out of three matches behind Thailand (13 points, five matches). They’ll look for their second win when they face Chinese Taipei at National Stadium in Kaohsiung at 6 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

Previously, Meram scored his first-ever international goal against Chinese Taipei on September 3, as part of group play. There are eight groups in Second Round AFC qualifying; the eight group winners and the four best group runners-up advance to the Third Round.

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